Interview Episode: Inside The Mind of Sports Psychiatrist, Dr. Britt

Season #25

 There’s something super special about getting to interview someone you knew as a kid. Especially when they’ve grown up to absolutely crush it in this industry. For me, that’s Dr. Britt Gonsoulin, MD, MPH. 


Dr. Britt and I met playing basketball together on our high school team (I have the oversized jersey pic to prove it :). She went on to play D1 basketball while majoring in Kinesiology & Exercise and Sports Sciences, then continued her education at Tulane University School of Medicine. There, she graduated AOA with a dual doctorate and Public Health masters degree in Health Systems Management. 


Dr. Britt has collected over 15 years of clinical experience as a Sports Psychiatrist and provides comprehensive in-person and tele-health care from her practice in Bainbridge Island, WA. 


To put it plainly, her professional resume is so freaking impressive. So much so that I did something I’ve never done before and invited my MCA students to join us for our interview! 


I love this episode because my MCA students got a chance to ask their own burning questions like:

  • “How can we help an athlete filter against an outcome-focused parent or coach?”
  • “How you incorporate cognitive behavior therapy with clients of different ages?”
  • “How do you help kids who are afraid to be honest with their coach because of how it might affect their playing time?” 
  • “What’s the difference between Sports Psychology and Sports Psychiatry?”
  • “When should you enlist the help of a Sports Psychiatrist?”


Dr. Britt is so passionate about the psychiatric side of sports, and working alongside people like her is so vital to this industry expanding. 


Thank you Dr. Britt for letting us pick your brain! 

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Here’s a glance at the episode…


[4:50] Lindsey and Dr. Britt have known eachother since they were teenagers playing basketball together. Dr. Britt explains the difference between Sport Psychiatry and Sport Psychology.

[9:20] When should you enlist the help of a Sport Psychiatrist? When should clients be referred to one during coaching? 


[13:32] Since the pandemic, there’s been more public dialogue about mental health, and mental health issues appear to be more prevalent. Dr. Britt weighs in. 


[19:30] Dr. Britt shares what exactly led her to her career in Sport Psychiatry.


[21:20] Performance anxiety is consistent across industries, Dr. Britt shares how she breaks apart, analyzes, and treats athletes with performance anxiety. 


[26:30] Ken asks Dr. Britt the question, “Do you incorporate cognitive behavior therapy with clients? How do you use it with different age groups?” and “How do you help kids who are afraid of what their coach might think and how that might affect their playing time?” 


[30:51] Dr. Britt shares an acronym, “S.E.T”, to illustrate the framework of how to build a healthy coach/athlete relationship early on. Lindsey asks her for some case study examples of her practice. 


[36:27] Lindsey asks Dr. Britt to explain how her experience as a D1 athlete informs her work as a Sport Psychiatrist. 


[38:00] Pete asks, “What can we do to help young athletes overcome the amount of stress that’s put on them?” Dr Britt talks about how she coaches her 10 year old kid to keep what really matters in perspective (Hint: The Harlem Globetrotters might help)


[44:25] Dr. Britt argues that the tough environment of sports can actually be a tool to help young athletes develop emotional resilience and emotional intelligence sooner. 


[45:04] Lyne asks, “What is the impact of injuries to athletes and their mindset?”. Dr. Britt explains how the body and mind’s response to physical trauma is widely varied and unpredictable. The group discusses the importance of mental health resources for injured players. 


[50:22] Krista asks, “How can we help an athlete filter against an outcome-focused parent or coach?” Dr. Britt advocates for helping athletes create their own mission statement around their sport. 


[52:15] Lindsey wraps up the episode by asking Dr. Britt a few rapid-fire questions. Dr. Britt shares some life highlights, from enjoying the baby fawn in her backyard, to eating chocolate, starting a blog, creating a morning ritual, and returning to her love of photography. 

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